Educators and scientists working with NOAA developed standards-based lessons that are tied to the science behind the 2014 Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico Expedition. Newer lessons support the Next Generation Science Standards in the context of cutting-edge ocean exploration and research using state-of-the-art technologies. Activities also support the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts and include focus questions, background information for teachers, links to interesting Internet sites, and extensions. Daily logs that document the latest discoveries and complement the lesson plans, complete with compelling images and video, will be sent back each day from sea. Teachers are encouraged to use the background essays, logs, and other resources from the posted on this site to supplement the lesson plans.
Read a description of each lesson and/or download them to your computer. All of the lessons are available in a PDF format, and may be viewed and printed with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download a lesson plan, click on its title from the listing below. (Note: if you have problems downloading one of these lessons, right-click on the link and save the lesson to your desktop.)
Grade Level: 5-12
Focus: How students can become active ocean explorers while viewing live video feeds during Okeanos Explorer expeditions (Physical Science/Earth Science)
Students learn how to access the Ocean Explorer website and access a live video feed of an Okeanos Explorer expedition; explore along with the ocean science community via live feeds during Okeanos Explorer expeditions; and track an expedition using the Okeanos Atlas.
Grade Level: 5-6
Focus: Marine archaeology and shipwreck exploration (Physical Science/Archaeology - from the Lophelia II 2008: Deepwater Coral Expedition: Reefs, Rigs, and Wrecks, adapted from the 2003 Steamship Portland Expedition)
Students draw inferences about a shipwreck given information on the location and characteristics of artifacts from the wreck and explain how the debris field associated with a shipwreck gives clues about the circumstances of the vessel’s sinking.
Grade Level: 6-8 (with adaptations for Grades 3-5 and 9-12)
Focus: Argo global temperature and salinity profiling floats (Earth Science)
Students interpret temperature and salinity profiles and trajectory diagrams based on data from Argo profiling floats to explain how variations in temperature and salinity at various depths are related to patterns of oceanic circulation, and how these patterns are related to regional climates.
Grade Level: 9-12
Focus: Connectivity of Lophelia coral populations (Life Science) - (from the Lophelia II 2012: Deepwater Platform Corals Expedition)
Students analyze and interpret genetic data from populations of Lophelia corals to identify patterns that indicate how closely these populations are related. Students use results of this analysis as evidence to explain flows and conservation of genetic material between Lophelia coral populations, and how this explanation could be used to select effective strategies for protecting biodiversity among Lophelia corals. Students also explain how the presence of both sexual and asexual reproduction in Lophelia corals affects the stability of Lophelia reef ecosystems and natural selection among populations of these corals.
The NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection was developed to encourage educators and students to become personally involved with the voyages and discoveries of America’s first federal ship dedicated to ocean exploration. The collection is presented in two volumes: Volume 1: Why Do We Explore? (modern reasons for ocean exploration) and Volume 2: How Do We Explore? (exploration methods and associated technologies).
For other lessons and information that may be relevant to your classroom instruction associated with this expedition visit the NOAA Ocean Explorer website lesson search page at /edu/lessonplans/lessonplans.html.
Enter keywords such as: shipwrecks, deep-sea corals, methane seeps, gas hydrates, bathymetry, benthic habitats, and underwater robots.
To further explore the technologies of bathymetric mapping, water column exploration, and ROV imagery, try the following lessons:
Focus: Multibeam sonar data and exploration activities during the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition missions (Earth Science)(from the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition) - (from the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition)
Students describe multibeam sonar, explain why the velocity of sound in water must be measured before maps can be created with the Okeanos Explorer’s multibeam sonar system, discuss the advantages of multibeam sonar bathymetry compared to two-dimensional topographic bathymetry, and interpret three-dimensional multibeam data of underwater features mapped by the Okeanos Explorer. This activity is followed up with Okeanos Explorer Multibeam Sonar Supplemental Datasheet #1 for Cruise 12.02 (pdf, 924 KB) in which students interpret three-dimensional multibeam data of underwater features mapped by the Okeanos Explorer during the Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition.
Focus: CTD data and exploration activities during the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition (Physical Science/Earth Science) - (from the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition)
Students define "CTD" and explain how this instrument is used aboard the Okeanos Explorer; explain how relationships between temperature, salinity, pressure, and density in seawater are useful to ocean explorers; and use data from the Okeanos Explorer to create and interpret graphs of temperature, salinity, and depth. This activity is followed up with Okeanos Explorer CTD Supplemental Datasheet #1 for Cruise 12.02 (pdf, 956 KB) in which students interpret CTD data collected by the Okeanos Explorer during the Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition.
Focus: ROV imagery and exploration activities during the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition (Earth Science) - (from the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition)
Students will describe typical applications and limitations of imagery obtained with ROVs, demonstrate how lasers may be used to calibrate images for size and distance measurements, and analyze ROV imagery from the Okeanos Explorer to make inferences about deep-ocean habitats and organisms. This activity is followed up with Okeanos Explorer ROV Imagery Supplemental Datasheet #1 for Cruise 12.02 (pdf 837 KB) in which students interpret ROV imagery collected by the Okeanos Explorer during the Gulf of Mexico 2012 Expedition.
To support these lessons, see the following introductory content: